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AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive

Re: Buffalo Soldier Units Serve the West

Bennie, et al:

Re: whether black regualrs considered the term "buffalo soldiers" derogatory or a term of honor/praise.
Almost impossible to tell-since we have nothing from any of these soldiers regarding how they felt about the term. On the other hand, there is good documentation that some of these soldiers had considerable unit and race pride.

On your having five or six explanations for the origins of "buffalo soldiers" Your list most likely duplicates mine if you don't mind-I'd like to read a list of what you've found.

My personal favorite is the "connection" with black troops wearing buffalo hide overcoats.
I doubt is this can be traced to the Indian Territory in the early l870s--but I have found a few period reference from the winter of l890=-9l (Wounded Knee) that makes this link. My take on this: not impossible that different groups of Indians at different dates--those on the Southern Plains in the l870s and those (Sioux?) further north in l890-9l--may have come up with the same name.

But my research pretty much convinces me that the term was originated by Indians on the Southern Plains sometime in the early l870s.

Later today, maybe on Sat, I will post what I've found-and what I think--about a "buffalo soldiers" reference that comes in l872--a year before the Nation piece I described in a message of a few days ago.

Tom Phillips

PS: The earliest "official" regimental link to the Bison as a symbol comes in a l0th Cavalry general order issued at Fort Eathan Allen, VT on Feb ll, l9ll. The order describes in great detail the regimentasl crest of the l0th. As you probably know, the image of a Bison is prominent.


18 Dec 2002 :: 14 Nov 2008
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